MOCA curator Philipp Kaiser to lead museum in Cologne, Germany


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L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art has gone through a series of unexpected high-level departures recently, but at least one outgoing staff member is leaving on a more relaxed timetable.

That’s senior curator Philipp Kaiser, who on Nov. 1 will become director of Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, which is dedicated to modern and contemporary art.


Kaiser was a curator at Gegenwartskunst Basel in Switzerland before coming to MOCA in 2007.

Museum Ludwig, where he’ll succeed Kasper Konig, named him its director designate last August. Since Kaiser means “emperor” in German, and Konig means “king,” it’s a museum that’s developing a royal line of leaders.

Kaiser (pictured) said via email from Cologne that he’ll continue at MOCA through May. “Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974,” opening April 8 at the Geffen Contemporary, will be his last show at the museum. Co-curated with Miwon Kwon, an art history professor at UCLA, it’s billed as “the first large-scale, historical-thematic exhibition to deal broadly with land art.” The exhibition will follow Kaiser to Germany: it’s being organized in cooperation with the Haus der Kunst in Munich, where it’s scheduled to open Oct. 12. Another show that Kaiser had begun to develop for MOCA, “Jack Goldstein X 10,000,” was dropped from the museum’s schedule in 2010, but rescued by the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, where it opens June 24, with Kaiser as guest curator. Featuring paintings, films, sound recordings and installations, it’s the first U.S. museum retrospective on the L.A.-based Goldstein, who died in 2003.

Kaiser’s departure reduces MOCA’s curatorial ranks to four: Chief curator Paul Schimmel, Alma Ruiz, Bennett Simpson and Rebecca Morse.


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-- Mike Boehm